Disney+ debuts £4.99 ad-supported subscription package in the UK

It’s all change for Disney+ today, as the House of Mouse rolls out three new subscription packages, led by a £4.99 ad-supported option. It joins a £7.99 ad-free HD tier, and a Premium offering, with 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos, priced at £10.99.

Disney+ is the latest big streamer to turn to advertising to bring more coins into its content coffers.

So just how do the three Disney Plus services compare?

The new Standard with Ads package offers video up to 1080p HD with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround. It supports two concurrent streams, but doesn’t permit any downloads. A £7.99 Standard plan also offers 1080p HD with 5.1 surround, and two concurrent streams, but includes downloads on up to ten devices.

The Premium Ad-Free tier maxes out at 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos, and supports four concurrent streams, with downloads on up to ten devices.

While both the Standard Ad-Free and Premium can be purchased in money saving annual bundles, £79.90 and £109.90 respectively, the cheaper Standard with Ads cannot.

Regardless of what plan you opt for, the content choice remains uniform across all three.

At the UK launch of the new subscription service, Luke Bradley Jones, General Manager of Disney+ EMEA, told HCC that he doesn’t believe existing subscribers will ‘trade down’ to the cheaper service, but instead that new subscribers would be persuaded to come onboard.

However, customers previously on the standard £7.99 monthly subscription, which included 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos, will now find themselves being billed £10.99, so some may well consider switching to a lower tier.

Content that is rated for younger audiences will see advertising relevant to that audience. There will be no advertising in Junior mode (previously called Kids mode). Preschool content will also be advertising-free.

Armstrong says the response from advertisers has been 'absolutely brilliant', and reveals that the launch line-up will include ads from H&M, John Lewis, Samsung, Uber and others.

While TV shows will contain ad breaks, movies will stream uninterrupted. Instead, advertising will be limited to prerolls. 'We’re only going to run advertising at the head of a movie,' confirms Jones. Ad breaks will also feature an onscreen timer, so that viewers know how long the break will last.

'We’ll have substantially less advertising than what viewers are used to elsewhere,' says Jones. 'Customers will typically see under four minutes of advertising per hour, which is significantly less than what they’re used to from terrestrial services.'